Jeremiah Johnson was born in Utah in 1930. His mother had ten children but only five made it past infancy. In 1951, Johnson was working at the VA Hospital in Salt Lake City when he was drafted into the U.S. Army. He arrived in Busan and then went to Inje and later to the Punchbowl. He adds vivid descriptions of both combat and non-combat experiences on the front lines.
First Impression of Busan
Jeremiah Johnson recalls traveling to Korea aboard the General Black troopship and describes the experience. He recounts arriving in Pusan and seeing Korean men in boats he was unfamiliar with. He remembers men from his ship tossing down fruit to the Korean men in the boats and watching them put the fruit into boxes.
Jeremiah Johnson describes his job in Korea. He recounts how he would record the sounds of enemy artillery. He explains his role and how he was independent from the trench soldier. He describes the technology he would use as part of his counterfire platoon work.
Finding North Korean Shooters
Jeremiah Johnson describes the poor attitude of many soldiers who did not want to be there and comments on how they would complain. He remembers how he was bored calling artillery locations, so he asked his Lieutenant if he could figure out his own shots. He describes how he came up with a system to refine the process of locating North Korean guns.
Hiring Orphans to Help
Jeremiah Johnson remembers two orphaned South Korean boys who worked for the unit. He describes the jobs they were given. He shares how they paid them and comments on how they learned from the soldiers.
00:00:00 [Beginning of recorded material]
Jeremiah Johnson: My name is Jeremiah, J E R E M I A H. Johnson, J O H N S O N.
Male Voice: Mm-hmm
Jeremiah Johnson: I was born in Cedar City, Utah.
Male Voice: Mm-hmm. What is your birthdate?
Jeremiah Johnson: September the 8th, 1930.
Male Voice: Please tell me about your family background, uh parents and your siblings.
Jeremiah Johnson: Well, my mother had 10 children, raised five, five died in infancy,
and uh I was raised in Hurricane, Utah, right over here. And uh, I was the youngest boy, I had one brother and three sisters.
Male Voice: Mm-hmm. So what school did you go through?
Jeremiah Johnson: Hurricane, Hurricane High, Hurricane Grade School, and Hurricane High School.
Male Voice: So right here Hurricane?
Jeremiah Johnson: Mm-hmm
Male Voice: Mm-hmm.
Jeremiah Johnson: Ya, we just came back, we’ve been in Idaho and Arizona since then. We just moved back.
Male Voice: So when did you graduate?
Jeremiah Johnson: 1948.
Male Voice: 1948. What did you do until Korean War broke out in 1950?
Jeremiah Johnson: Well, I was uh, I went to Salt Lake. My father took his own life,
and I left home and uh went to Salt Lake, got a job on the veteran’s hospitals up there, and uh, I worked there for probably 6 months and was drafted into the Korean War, into the army when Korea was going, started.
Male Voice: Do you remember when you were drafted?
Jeremiah Johnson: Uh, July, do you remember honey, July? July something.
Male Voice: You were drafted in 1951
Jeremiah Johnson: Yes.
Male Voice: Right? So you knew that the Korean War broke out?
Jeremiah Johnson: Oh ya, yes, I knew all about it when you were drafted.
Male Voice: How did you know?
Jeremiah Johnson: Oh, it was just news, in the news.
Male Voice: In the news?
Jeremiah Johnson: Ya.
Male Voice: A lot of people talked about it?
Jeremiah Johnson: Well, they talked about it too, ya. Anytime that something happens that involves us you know, we’re always trying to keep people free everywhere we go, you know, it seemed like,
so everybody that has a real dispute, why if we think it’s unfair our country seems to think they ought to go help them out, you know? And that’s what we did in Korea.
Male Voice: Did you learn anything about Korea when you were in high school?
Jeremiah Johnson: No. No I didn’t. They didn’t teach us about Korea.
Male Voice: And so when you were drafted, did you know that you were, you would be dragged into the Korean War?
Jeremiah Johnson: No. No, in fact I tried to avoid it. I uh, I tried to get deferred because the job I was on, because they need brick masons real, real bad then, so I tried to get them to defer me but they wouldn’t do that and so I was drafted and I went through basic training and while I was in basic training why, they sent a rumor around that the 82nd Airborne unit was gonna go to Paris. Well, I thought that sounded
better than Korea cause they were fighting in Korea. You know? And I didn’t think that would be a good thing, so I joined the Airborne and they sent me to Fort Benning, Georgia where I went through school, jump school there. And I graduated from jump school and they shipped every one of us that graduated straight to Korea.
Male Voice: Remember when did you leave for Korea?
Jeremiah Johnson: I don’t remember the dates. It was right after graduation.
Male Voice: So it’s 1951?
Jeremiah Johnson: Something like that, I don’t remember the date.
Male Voice: Mm-hmm. Where did you go and how did you go to Korea?
Jeremiah Johnson: Well, we took a, rode a ship. 2000 guys on a ship I remember. Crowded. Uh, I think it was the General Black, the ship. But uh, it was just a troop ship at the time.
Male Voice: How was it on the ship?
Jeremiah Johnson: Oh, I never did get sick on the ship but I, I
got tired of it. It was a two week trip and uh, how’d this other guy go? Did he go on a boat?
Male Voice: Yes, he was Navy, yes.
Jeremiah Johnson: Mm-hmm.
Male Voice: So did you go to Japan, or Korea?
Jeremiah Johnson: Well, we stopped at Japan for maybe overnight and then went on to Korea. We went to Pusan. That was an interesting part of my trip too because I had never seen this before
but when we got to Pusan, there were some, some of the older fellows that came out in these little boats and they had a paddle that would stick straight out the back of the boat and it was bent on the end like a fish tail. And they would waddle that thing back and forth like this and the boat would kind of go like this but it wouldn’t go forward, you know, and I thought it was kind of neat and good idea but it didn’t work very well but it worked, you know? And they’d go out and sit down way underneath,
it was probably 20 feet down from the deck on the boat and just sit there and look up and guys would throw oranges to ‘em, and fruit, and apples, and what, and they’d have a box in the back. They’d just raise the lid, put all this fruit in this box and they’d collect quite a bit to eat that way, you know.
Male Voice: So, where did you arrive in Korea?
Jeremiah Johnson: Uh, Inchon, where McArthur docked.
Male Voice: Ya.
Jeremiah Johnson: That’s where we
Male Voice: So tell me about what happened to you after the Inchon, you can just tell me the whole story.
Jeremiah Johnson: Well, we went from there to uh, Inje, they call it Inje.
Male Voice: Inje, ya.
Jeremiah Johnson: Inje, ya. There’s a river there and we, they left us there for two weeks, just to get acclimated to the weather, you know, in the area, and we used to swim that river there all the time, and I quite enjoyed that. One black guy drowned while I was there
in that river. And uh, while I was there I got bit on the leg by something. And my knee swelled up to where it was as big down right here as my entire knee was and they never did know what happened but I was bit by something. And I spent time in the hospital there trying to recover from that bite whatever it was and uh finally it swelled up
and come to a head and popped and soon as I recovered from that the rest of the outfit had gone on line so I went up on line with them from then and uh participated in that. We had to build our own bunkers. We, uh, had lots of communication wire, telephone wire stretched along the back of the hill from when the war started actually, that you know, artillery would damage it so they’d just string another wire rather than try to
patch the one, so we had a lot of wasted wire down there. And uh, so, we would cut timber and build our own bunkers. They’d bring us sandbags, we’d fill the sandbags and uh, use those for the lower walls where there was no hillside to dig in to, and so we had the hillside, the two sides that we’d build up with sandbags, plus the front side, and uh, we’d cut timbers and put it in the very end of the bunk, and we’d put those communication wires talking about, would wrap that around these timbers
until we had enough wire there to serve as a mattress, you know, to sleep on. And uh, so, that’s how we spent our year there. We’d sleep on these, on this uh, wire that we made our bunks out of, and it was really quite comfortable.
Male Voice: What was your specialty and what was your rank?
Jeremiah Johnson: Okay, well, my rank was corporal when I went up on line. I was a squad leader down below, and I was corporal, and uh, but I didn’t really have any real duties as a squad leader. We all did the same work, but uh, I got into what they called a counter-fire platoon.
Male Voice: What is that?
Jeremiah Johnson: Now that’s the only thing I think you might be interested in.
They would record the muzzle blast, the sound from the enemy artillery, you understand?
Male Voice: Mm-hmm
Jeremiah Johnson: And uh, so sometimes it was back two and three miles, back in the north, you know, and so we uh, with their outfit, I was only attached to a line company for food only, so we were independent from the soldiers who were in the trench all the time, and uh, what they would do
us operating a piece of high-tech equipment at the time, and I have pictures I can show you of that a little later, but anyway, it was a little machine about this square and it was about that high and when the artillery, enemy artillery would start firing, why we would record the sound. But we had, we had three uh microphones set up on the forward slope of the hill.
You know, out on the forward slope, and we had our bunker right behind the hill. And uh, within a hundred feet or less of that, and uh, so what, an enemy gun would start firing, why, we’d call the other team. We always worked in teams. One team was 70 yards from us, you know, from the other team, and uh, so we’d call them. We had phones that we’d set up and we’d call them and tell them to
turn the machine on, and so if a machine, if a gun that was firing was closer to their end, why, they would send a guy out in what we called a stop-switch-hole. We would dig a trench from where our bunkers were, through the hill and out to the forward slope and and uh, they would go out and drag a cord with them that was plugged into the machine. And uh, when they’d get out there, as soon as a gun would fire
again, why they’d push a button and the magnetic uh thing in the machine would pick up the sound and hold it and so they would work out these, we had five buttons, or four buttons on top of the end of the machine. You’d look into a scope and the the sound would make a whole mess of just little green lights,
Male Voice: Uh-huh
Jeremiah Johnson: little green streams like that in the scope. And uh,
we’d turn these knobs until all of those were drawn into one fine line before they started going back out. And then we’d stop and read the machine numbers. And I’d pick up the numbers from their bunker and the ones from the other bunker and they plot it on a topographical map after they’d run through a protractor and got the azimuth to the gun from each one
and where it crossed out on the map was where the, where the gun was.
Male Voice: So you were actually locating.
Jeremiah Johnson: We located the guns.
Male Voice: Yes, and did you learn anything about this technology or the knowledge before you joined the Army?
Jeremiah Johnson: Never did. Never heard of it.
Male Voice: So you learned everything from the Army?
Jeremiah Johnson: Very few people even knew about it. And in fact, they gave us a special hand grenade to put on the end of that thing if we were overrun. They would want us to
stand the thing on its end and put this hand grenade on there and it would burn with such extreme heat that it would just go right down through it and destroy it.
Male Voice: It must have been a very dangerous job because you have to locate the microphones in the mountains and you go there and check it out.
Jeremiah Johnson: Oh, we had to go out in front, yes, but uh, I never was what you might called worried about being killed there, I mean we were on a long sloping hill
and the guys, the North Koreans could never get within rifle range of us without being seen. So I didn’t worry about the rifles, and I got so good at hearing that sound of the artillery, I never worried about that either.
Male Voice: Mmm
Jeremiah Johnson: In fact, they used to tell the guys in the trench, when we were, our little section of the area was being shelled, I’d wait and when I’d hear the gun fire, the gun would always fire quite a while before we’d
even hear it. And when I’d hear why, I’d give it a little time and pretty quick I’d hear the shell coming through the air. And if I could hear it I knew it wasn’t gonna hit us because it only hit you when it’s coming right at you. So these shells, if I knew it was coming at us I’d tell the guys in the trench now “get down, time to get down.” So they’d squat down in the trench. The shell would hit the hill and splatted all over and wouldn’t hurt anybody.
Male Voice: Were you ever wounded?
Jeremiah Johnson: Yes.
Male Voice: Where, how? Tell me about the day that you got wounded.
Jeremiah Johnson: Well, one time I, we, our machinery operated off of a battery and uh, and uh so the battery went dead so I had this, this uh battery on a, in a pack on my back and I was heading up to where the other bunker was so I could get a brand new battery, so we keep
picking up these shots and a shell come in and hit the mountain right, right close to me and the shrapnel just flies you know, and when it explodes against these big rocks, and that’s what happened. It flew and some of the shrapnel come up and come down and hit me and uh
Male Voice: Where?
Jeremiah Johnson: On the hand. While I was holding this pack, carrying this battery.
Male Voice: So what happened? Did you go to the hospital or
Jeremiah Johnson: Ya, they sent me down to get a
tetanus shot, they was afraid I would you know, maybe get a, you know, bacteria or something off of it.
Make Voice: Did you get recognized with a medal?
Jeremiah Johnson: Oh ya, I got a, uh I got a, I got a purple heart out of it. I’ve got a board in here I can show you.
Male Voice: Okay. Um, what were you thinking? You were fighting in a country you never heard of before and you didn’t know really about this country
and you’re right at the front line, risking your life. What were you thinking at the time?
Jeremiah Johnson: Well, I knew what Communism was and I knew that’s what they were trying, trying to, the North was trying to do, was to bring Communism to the entire peninsula, you know, and so I was willing to go over there and donate whatever time I could if I could do some good, you know. And uh, help prevent Communism from taking
over because you know, if you just sit back and let it happen, well it’d be over here next, you know. So it was a matter of stopping it before it go spread too much you know. I didn’t mind uh, giving my time for that, not a bit.
Male Voice: What was the most difficult moment in your service in Korea?
Jeremiah Johnson: The only thing I really had difficult was the attitude of a lot of the guys. They just
complained all the time about being there, and uh, in fact that’s the only place I felt like I gained much over the rest of them was because I had, I asked the lieutenant one time, I got a little bored, you know, picking up all these shots and just calling information back to the fire direction center back in the rear where our artillery was. See, we’d locate the guns and we’d call the artillery
uh, or the fire direction center, they were way back behind us about four miles or so, and uh so, I got a little bored about doing all of this, not knowing the results. So I asked the lieutenant one day to bring me up a topographical map and a pair of field glasses, and a, and a protractor and everything I needed so I could plot my own shots. So he said “ya, I can do that.” So he brought
me up all that stuff, the very same thing I had down there. So about the next time this gun started firing, I thought it was only one gun, but it started firing on us, and so I uh recorded you know, everything that we usually call back and I took those figures and and protracted them out and got my azimuth from my position to that noise and one from the other
team to the noise and I found out where they crossed out there on the topographical map and I’ll be damned that I was watching there and saw one fire. A North Korean gun, artillery gun fire, and I realized then the reason we never could think about before was because it was so far back that the fire from the blast from the thing going off would be out and the dust would be settled before we ever heard the sound.
So that’s why we weren’t picking them up. And I started watching that, realizing too that uh when that one gun would fire, or one, it wasn’t the only one firing, is what I realized. And so, I started scanning the ridge behind, right behind the ridge where he was, I just scanned up a little higher, up there about 50 yards, there was another gun. And then I realized too that there was
more than just the two, so I look, kept looking, and found, wound up finding three. So I personally found three guns that our forward observer couldn’t find, and he had a 35 power scope. I had a seven power scope and a pair of field glasses. And uh, so I felt pretty good about that. And that got me some recognition too and I got a rank change out of that.
Male Voice: To what?
Jeremiah Johnson: Made me sergeant
Male Voice: Sergeant?
Jeremiah Johnson: From corporal. Ya.
Male Voice: So you got sergeant out of that?
Jeremiah Johnson: Ya, I got sergeant out of that.
Male Voice: Hmm. Many people complained?
Jeremiah Johnson: A lot of guys were always complaining.
Male Voice: About what?
Jeremiah Johnson: Oh, just being there. Having to be there. It wasn’t, and they’d just sit around, they wouldn’t do a darn thing.
Male Voice: But it’s a natural for them to complain. They came to a country they never heard about and.
Jeremiah Johnson: It wasn’t the country, they just didn’t want to be, they wanted to be home doing their
two bit thing, whatever it might have been.
Male Voice: What was the happiest moment during your service?
Jeremiah Johnson: Oh, I don’t remember ever being really unhappy.
Male Voice: You were always happy during the war?
Jeremiah Johnson: Well, ya. I didn’t, I quite liked what I was doing.
Male Voice: Huh.
Jeremiah Johnson: I didn’t mind that a bit, you know. The only thing I didn’t like was the sleeping bag they issued me was
a World War II sleeping bag, and you know when those World War II guys were that age, they used a lot of hair oil.
Male Voice: And
Jeremiah Johnson: Something that was, something that was common then but not now. But those guys would use it and the sleeping bag I was issued had this hair oil and dirt mixed together all around the head of the sleeping bag and I
Male Voice: They gave old
Jeremiah Johnson: They gave me those World War, they gave us those old World War II sleeping bags to sleep in.
And so mine was dirty from World War II until I left there and I couldn’t get another sleeping bag. So I had to smell that every night. I didn’t like that very well.
Male Voice: Oh boy.
Jeremiah Johnson: And uh, but we, we were only able to go down off the hill once a week and take a shower any way, and that was if a truck was able to get up and get us.
Male Voice: What was the most dangerous moment
to you during your service?
Jeremiah Johnson: Well, there was other experiences I didn’t like. There was a guy in the, in the trench right down below me,
Male Voice: Mm-hmm
Jeremiah Johnson: that uh, we were being shelled and it was late in the evening, it was dark actually. And he got hit right in the throat. I could hear him down there gagging and I was out in the stop-switch-hole at the time and so I slid down the hill to go see if I could help him and
another shell come in about then and I got another little piece of shrapnel right here and uh so I had to go back up hill again so I don’t know if my Purple Heart came from them or the one before. But anyway, he died, he wound up dying. We couldn’t get him out of there soon enough. But one thing I didn’t like about it was these boys were working the trails, they would go out on patrols every night and if they had a, the North Koreans
they had one trail and it was mined and everybody knew it, and the ones that succeeded on the patrol that night depended completely on who got out there first on the trail and they set up a uh booby trap on the trail. And uh, so if we had, uh, if our guys got out there first and set up the booby trap, then the North Koreans would walk into it at night and some of them got killed
and if they got out there first, our guys would walk into it and uh, so as a result of that and all these patrols that were always going on, why once in a while they’d be able to get the truck up and when they could, they’d bring us a hot breakfast. Well, I’d go up there to get one of these hot breakfasts and there’s always two or three guys laying there dead on the stretchers waiting on the truck to get done feeding us so they could haul them back to the rear.
I didn’t like that very well ‘cause one of my good friends that went over on the boat with, I used to scuffle with him on the boat, uh, he was killed on a patrol one night. A Bouncing Betty jumped up and went off about at head level and killed him.
Male Voice: Do you still vividly remember all those things?
Jeremiah Johnson: Oh, I remember the ones like that, ya. You bet.
Male Voice: Does that bother you? Are you suffering from PTSD?
Jeremiah Johnson: I’m no bothered by it,
I just remember them.
Male Voice: Do you have PTSD?
Jeremiah Johnson: What’s that?
Male Voice: Post Traumatic Stress
Jeremiah Johnson: Oh, no, no, no, no, no. No, I don’t have any of that.
Male Voice: Did people drink alcohol much?
Jeremiah Johnson: Ya, there was one guy I used to trade my chocolate toddies to all the time uh, for, he’d give me his toddies for my beer so he’d sit there and drink beer all the time. All the time he had it.
Male Voice: Do you remember any Korean work in you camp or?
Jeremiah Johnson: Well, we had two boys.
Male Voice: Tell me about that.
Jeremiah Johnson: Jim. Jimmy had sweeper tasks. We didn’t need swept but he’d sweep our bunkers out and we’d each go on and give him a dollar a month for doing that so he’d wind up with 20 bucks a month with no place to spend it, you know. But he liked it. It gave him something to do and he was an orphan boy and so we was glad to help him out.
Male Voice: Did, did them, did they uh speak in English?
Jeremiah Johnson: They learned to speak good English. Ya, in fact, they had a little guy that would come along in the line and cut our hair. He couldn’t speak English but did a pretty good job of cutting our hair.
Male Voice: So did you stay in Inje throughout the whole service?
Jeremiah Johnson: No, I was only down there for two weeks.
Male Voice: And then, where did you go?
Jeremiah Johnson: Up, right up on the line.
I was in the area they called the Punchbowl.
Male Voice: Punchbowl?
Jeremiah Johnson: Yep, and I was on that north rim for 11 months.
Male Voice: Eleven months. So you know the Korean winter?
Jeremiah Johnson: Oh ya, I got to be well acquainted to the Korean winters. In fact, it rained so hard there one night, it had been raining for two weeks, and we had a bunker that we’d dug back into a hill, uh with sandbags coming out from where it wasn’t part of the hill.
And then we had a sandbag wall clear along the lower side except for the doorway. And uh, and uh, those sandbags got all soaked up and right in the middle of the night, about 2 o’clock that whole wall fell out on the ground. And there we were exposed to all that rain and weather so we had to roll our sleeping bags up and take them with us up to the other bunker and move in with them. We almost had to stack
up to find room to even lay down to face the night out. And the next morning, the funny thing about that was we darn near got buried in that bunker because it rained so long that the big timbers we had on the polls that held all the roof up, the roof too, it piled rocks that high on it just to keep the artillery from coming in on us, you know, so anyway, they uh, uh the weight of the rocks almost pushed the roof over,
uh the logs that was holding it up, were leaning way out. There was only about that much left, that was holding all that up when I got up in the morning, and so we could have had another disaster but we didn’t.
Male Voice: Mmm. When did you leave Korea?
Jeremiah Johnson: Well, it was
Male Voice: 52?
Jeremiah Johnson: 53.
Male Voice: 53?
Jeremiah Johnson: Mm-hmm.
Male Voice: Mm-hmm. And what is the impact of your service upon your life
after you returned from Korea? How did it affect you?
Jeremiah Johnson: Well, I think it made me a little smarter. I think I was able to use good judgement better
Male Voice: Mm-hmm
Jeremiah Johnson: as a result of what I did there.
Male Voice: For example?
Jeremiah Johnson: Uh, just, let’s see, what would be an example? Mostly in how I conduct myself, you know.
Male Voice: Mm-hmm
Jeremiah Johnson: And the things I do.
Male Voice: So you know how devastated
the Korea was back in the 1950s.
Jeremiah Johnson: How what?
Male Voice: How devastated, destroyed completely.
Jeremiah Johnson: Oh, ya, ya, I remember how it was.
Male Voice: Tell me about it. The scenes that you remember.
Jeremiah Johnson: Well, I never saw a lot of the destruction because uh, when I got there, the line had just been established at the north rim of the Punchbowl, so I didn’t see any destroyed buildings or anything. However, I did see, I know that
the the North Koreans were uncomfortable enough to where a lot of them would surrender. And I’ve got some things that I would like to show you there, too. But they would, we would fire up pamphlets that would you know, in our artillery, and these artillery shells burst way high above their areas
Male Voice: Mm-hmh
Jeremiah Johnson: and all these pamphlets flowed out. And uh, when they would float out, why, they were good will passes, if you understand what I mean.
They were good will passes and if a guy wanted to pick one of those up, they’ll sneak away from his outfit, and sneak up to our line, he could wave that to us and they’d let him in, uh, without shooting him, you know. And I saw three guys come in
Male Voice: Mm-hmm
Jeremiah Johnson: Uh, two one time, one another, and then I saw a captain come in from the North Korean army one night or one morning.
Male Voice: Wow.
Jeremiah Johnson: He’d been out all night and his hands were just so cold that
they were puffy. He was just frozen almost but he maintained good control over himself.
Male Voice: Hmm
Jeremiah Johnson: But he was a captain. I was quite impressed. And they all had these, these pamphlets. They would stand way down behind a tree ‘cause they was afraid they’d get shot. But they’d stand, hold this pamphlet
Male Voice: Hmm
Jeremiah Johnson: out from behind this tree and wave it, and once somebody up on the line saw it, why, they’d call them in. We used to have to get one of our house boys down to talk to them,
you know, and talk them in.
Male Voice: Huh.
Jeremiah Johnson: One night we, or one day, right in mid-day they they thought they were going to be pretty smart and they had a whole company of guys down in the trees where we couldn’t see them. And they were going to have them attack that night. But they sent six guys up right in the middle of the day because they knew that everybody would try to go back and huddle together and eat their, their uh K-rations and stuff
they always got together and socialized while they were having lunch, so anyway, they figured they’d get up there and get in our trench and set up a machine gun down the trench and when we’d come back, why they’d just shoot everybody, you know. Well, uh, somebody saw them when they got, come up and got into the trench and they did grab one of our machine guns, set up in the trench, and had to pointing down the machine gun, or down the trench, but we were all back
over on the other side of the hill and so when the house boys uh heard that they were there, why, they could talk to him you know, so somebody’d run over the hill and throw a hand grenade down that way and that’d just scare them but they’d run into the one of the line bunkers that was dug right in the hill behind the trench, so they all ran in there, and this house boy took a couple of hand grenades up there and he pulled the pin on one
Male Voice: Woah
Jeremiah Johnson: and he’d yell down to ’em, tell ‘em to surrender or he’d throw that in and they wouldn’t surrender, so finally he chucked a couple of them in there and he killed them all but one, and he uh, he uh lived long enough to uh tell about the company of guys still down in the trees,
Male Voice: Wow
Jeremiah Johnson: then all they had to do was drop the artillery on them and changed their mind about that, but that was a kind of an interesting experience.
Male Voice: What is the Korean War to you?
Well, I feel good about the fact that I went and served there. I met good people, I don’t have a
Male Voice: When did you go back?
Jeremiah Johnson: Well it was about three years ago.
Male Voice: Uh-hum
Jeremiah Johnson: Something like that. Enjoyed that and I appreciated that too because that let me see the, the result of our being there. See, we stayed in this big ole hotel and we, my wife and I, just walked down to the bottom of the hotel and there was a whole block of stores underneath this hotel. Uh,
there were, I mean you’d think it was in the United States. I think they were ahead of us in a lot of the technical stuff they were using, but uh, it was one store after another and I’d look at all those young people and realize that you know, they wouldn’t even be there. We walked onto a skating rink there and here’s about 75 kids skating around on ice skates, several of the guys instructing on how to do it.
And I really liked that because those kids, the instructors, none of them would even be here today if it hadn’t been for us.
Male Voice: Exactly
Jeremiah Johnson: I felt real good about that.
Male Voice: Hmm
Jeremiah Johnson: And the good thing about it too is, that I like is you teach your young people about the war. And so they, even the young kids were real appreciative of what we had done and they’d come up and tell us that.
Male Voice: Mm-hmm
Jeremiah Johnson: And that really felt good to me.
Male Voice: Ya. Anything add to the interview?
Any questions do you want me to ask you?
Jeremiah Johnson: Well it tickled me to see them all so happy. You know. They were happy. Another thing is they, they had all these high-rises they lived in now. And they were all living clean and neat, and healthy, you know, and it just looked good. Made me proud.
Male Voice: Mm-hmm
Jeremiah Johnson: This, this is a tower. This is a final final phase of my training. Those towers are 250 feet high.
And uh, the last phase of the training is they have these rings, you see that ring up there?
Female Voice: Mm-hmm
Jeremiah Johnson: Where they open the chute up and that ring was still down there on the ground. They’d snap it into that ring and then they’d lift you up, you’re hanging underneath that parachute. They’d raise you up there and when you get within four feet of this, this arm on the tower, they’d yell up at you and tell you which way to pull your risers so you won’t blow into the tower. And when you got your risers
all pulled down like they should be, why, they’d raise you up real quick and hit the arm on the tower and that releases all the snaps and down you go.
Male Voice: Ya
Jeremiah Johnson: 250 feet. This is the guys in the plane
Female Voice: Ah
Jeremiah Johnson: when you are flying up there to to jump.
Female Voice: Okay
Jeremiah Johnson: See, if you look real close, there’s a, you can see a wire right up here
Female Voice: Oh, okay
Jeremiah Johnson: Can you see it?
Female Voice: Ya, ya
Jeremiah Johnson: This is one of those uh, pamphlets that we
fired up to them. And this, it was these that uh the captain had in his hand. I was one of them and I gathered this up after they’d been firing them up. They did it too, see this is one of theirs.
Female Voice: Mm-hmm
Jeremiah Johnson: To us.
Male Voice: What do you think about the US-Korea alliance right now?
Jeremiah Johnson: Well, I think they should stay solid because uh you know I don’t want to see the Communists take over after, you know after
we contributed what we did. I mean, that’d be stupid but we do that all the time, you know. Makes me so irritated at our government.
Male Voice: How can we keep your legacy?
Jeremiah Johnson: Well, I don’t really have much of a legacy. My kids, my kids will carry on what I’ve told them, that’s all. That’s about the best I can do.
[End of Recorded Material]